Do I really have to make reservations now for Character Dining?
(Rio Rancho, NM)
I will be in Disney 2nd week of October and all the research is saying make your dining reservations before. It makes me nervous to think that we won't be able to have any character dining or nice meals if I don't know what time I want to eat 2 months from now? Is it that rushed to make a reservation? Or is this something I can decide when I have a better idea of what we are doing?
On a side note, your website has been very helpful, especially for a mother taking her kids for the first time. It almost feels like I'm studying for a test with all the information.
Mickey at Donald's Safari Breakfast - Photo by Kerry Willmott Wood from Facebook
Dad's Reserve Now or Risk Answer
Thanks for the kind words about Dad's Guide. It's a whole lot of fun, especially when I can help people like you. You are right about the amount of information out there about Disney World, and your test will come in October.
First, let me say I went and looked at a couple of days in mid-October and there are some reservations available even at some of the Character Dining. If I were you, I'd go and grab a couple.
Yes, make them now. If you really want to experience one of the best things Disney does (Character Dining) or even some of the better restaurants, you will need a reservation. You might get a table by showing up (it's happened before), but you probably won't. Character meals are some of the most popular dining experiences at WDW.
The problem you're facing (and it's getting worse everyday) is that thousands of people are booking Free Dining right now for October. (Get your FREE Dining here.
) Right after those people make their reservations they go directly to Disney's site and start booking dining reservations. FREE Dining brings people out of the woodwork and as we've discovered earlier this week, some dates are already sold out
Disney starts taking reservations 180 days in advance. There are several restaurants that are "sold out" within a couple of minutes on day 180. The Character Meals are usually sold out pretty quickly, but most of them are in bigger restaurants and have a little more availability, but they still will fill up almost every day.
You might not get to eat at Sci Fi Dine In - Photo by Cora Busch from Facebook
Mrs. Mom and I found out last year (we were there in mid-October) that FREE Dining brings people out of the woodwork
. Crowds will be bigger and restaurants are fuller. It just makes sense. You are going during the heart of FREE Dining. It's going to be busy and the restaurants will be packed.
Let me end with this. I've found that when it comes to planning a trip to Walt Disney World you have to do things a bit backwards. Instead of looking at what you want to do and planning your dining around that, you usually have to find out when you can get a reservation at the restaurants you want and then plan your day around your reservations. Yes, it's backwards, but that's just reality.
Dad's Bottom Line
Tanva, this is one of those, go directly to Disney (their dining page), do not pass go, etc. Yes, go there now and make a couple of reservations. You don't have to make reservations for every meal, but you do want to make a few.